New events in Orange County pop up in my social media feed all the time; but when I saw the details on Winterfest at the OC Fair and Event Center, I knew this was one we just had to check out. I am SO glad we did!
We purchased two adult tickets, and one child’s ticket, as well as front of the line passes for ice tubing, and unlimited carnival ride wristbands. The event runs from 11am to 11pm, but we didn’t plan to go until the late afternoon. We arrived around 4pm, paid $7 for parking, and headed inside.
WOW! It was impressive from the minute we walked in. Our eyes were greeted with a huge red ornament that we could actually walk inside. Great photo opportunity, so of course we snapped one!
We headed straight for the Christmas Stage, where we could see the Carving Chicks, (professional ice sculptresses), had begun a head to head ice carving challenge. It was pretty exciting! Ice flying everywhere with rock style holiday music playing. These girls have a way with ice!
Next, we made our way through the center of the venue. Bounce houses for kids big and small were hopping with activity. Winter themed food stands were abundant, with lots of tasty offerings.
We enjoyed looking at lots of life-sized holiday decorations and displays…
…including the gorgeous focal point, a HUGE lighted Christmas tree right in front of the Hangar! (Another awesome photo op!)
We continued toward the Candy Cane Carnival to check out some rides and games. Winterfest did not disappoint! There were rides for kids, teens and adults, lots of games with winter themed prizes to win, and of course all the fun carnival foods we love, like cotton candy, popcorn and more!
We met the very kind and beautiful Snow Princess, who stopped to chat with us for a while, and rode the fully decked out Christmas Train.
We headed indoors to take a look at the awesome miniature train displays, there were many to look at, and fascinating little villages. There were video games, craft tables, face painting, balloon twisting and treats offered inside! We were already having so much fun, but the REAL treats were still to come!
The Hangar was lit up with beautiful hanging icicle lights, and by now the sun had set. The effect was magical!
Inside, we rented skates ($15 per rental) and a cool “assister” penguin ($5) for our little one to hang on to, it helped her SO much! If your littles are new to skating, do not skimp on getting the assister, it made ALL the difference in the world!
A really nice touch was the huge screen above the ice rink, where “The Polar Express” was being screened for all to see. What a great idea for a creative backdrop! There were more treats inside, and a full bar. Private cabanas were also available for rent, and at just $105 for up to ten people, we thought this was a great idea. We’ll do it the next time we go.
Victorian Carolers strolled the area, their beautiful blend of harmony and melody filling the air, adding to the wintery charm.
Drum roll please…. time for the reindeer feeding! You read that right, LIVE reindeer were just outside, and guests of Winterfest were invited to participate in feeding them. They’re just about the cutest thing we have ever seen.
Finally, it was time for the grand finale to our night: ICE TUBING!! This really was an incredible experience! Inside, six lanes of glittering, perfectly sculpted tubing hills were laid out, and bright blue inner tubes with canvas covers in adult and child sizes were available, (kids must be 42″ to ride and no lap sitting is permitted). We headed to the fast pass lane and headed up the stairs to the top of the slopes. Each lane was staffed at the top, and the operation was very well organized for maximum safety, and FUN!
At the bottom of each lane, another staff member waited to meet the guests and guide them back to the line to do it again! And again, and again, and again!
Tubing is included for free in the price of a Winterfest ticket. This alone makes the event an incredible value, not to mention all the other free entertainment and activities that are included.
Overall, this family HIGHLY recommends Winterfest! The event is running daily at the OC Fair and Events Center, until January 3. Tickets start at just $10, and the organizers offer free admission on select days for veterans, teachers, nurses and more. Check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/winterfestOC and purchase tickets online through their website, www.winterfestoc.com/Tickets
Note: Ritzy Parties is not affiliated with Winterfest, nor were we paid or compensated in any way for our review. Please visit www.winterfestoc.com to contact the event organizers, for more details, or to purchase tickets or season passes.